Hobey Baker was an American amateur athlete of the early twentieth century. Considered the first American star in ice hockey by the Hockey Hall of Fame, he was also an accomplished American football player. F. Scott Fitzgerald idolized Baker and based Allenby, a minor character in the 1920 novel This Side of Paradise, on him. Baker died in December 1918 after a plane he was test-piloting crashed.
About Hobey Baker in brief
Hobey Baker was an American amateur athlete of the early twentieth century. Considered the first American star in ice hockey by the Hockey Hall of Fame, he was also an accomplished American football player. Baker died in December 1918 after a plane he was test-piloting crashed, hours before he was due to leave France and return to America. F. Scott Fitzgerald idolized Baker and based Allenby, a minor character in the 1920 novel This Side of Paradise, on him. Baker was the second son of Alfred Thornton Baker, a wealthy upholsterer, and Mary Augusta Pemberton, a socialite. He was named after his uncle, Dr. Hobart Amory Hare, who was the obstetrician at his birth and president of the Jefferson Medical Hospital in Philadelphia. Baker graduated from Princeton in 1914 and worked for J. P. Morgan Bank until he enlisted in the United States Army Air Service. During World War I he served with the 103rd and the 13th Aero Squadrons before being promoted to captain and named commander of the 141st Aero Squadron. He is the only person to be in both the hockey and college football halls of fame. The Hobey Baker Award was introduced in 1980, awarded annually to the best collegiate hockey player. In 1921, Princeton named its new hockey arena the Hobey baker Memorial Rink. Baker is buried at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire, where he was a member of the Class of 1914 with six other classmates.
He had a son, Alfred, who played halfback while a student at Princeton University in the 1880s, the same school his father had attended. One of Baker’s ancestors was Francis Rawle, a Quaker who emigrated to Philadelphia in 1688 and became one of the wealthiest members of the city. Alfred lost much of his savings in the Panic of 1907 and could only afford to send one of his sons to college to continue his education. Although an above-average student, Baker stayed an extra year at St Paul’s to allow his father to save money for another year at Nassau Street. In 1910, Baker enrolled at Princeton and was one of their most popular students. At the age of fifteen he was named the school’s best athlete for his skill in hockey, football, baseball, tennis, swimming, track and field. He spent nights skating on frozen ponds to improve his ability to move with the puck while not looking down. In 1913, Baker was named to the St. Nicholas Hockey Club’s varsity team, and helped the club win a national amateur championship in 1915. In 1973, he became one the initial inductees in the U.S. HockeyHall of Fame. In 1975 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of fame in 1975, and is theOnly American among them. Baker’s cousin said that Baker swam through water “like some sort of engine”; after his first attempt at golf he was able to score in the low 40s on the school’s nine-hole course.